I know it might sound strange, having a blog and all, but I never thought of all this as self-promotion. I started the blog for accountability purposes, and then it became a great way to connect with other writers, and I got so caught up with being part of this community and giving to this community that it really slipped my mind that if I sold a book I'd actually have to, like, SELL that book. (Does that even make sense? I hope so...)
The whole self-promotion realization hit about a week or two after the offer, when it seemed pretty clear that it was, indeed, not a joke that my book would be published. At that point I had this huge, terrifying revelation:
"Holy. Crap. How am I supposed to keep people interested in me and my book for the two years before it debuts without being completely and utterly obnoxious? AND, worse, how am I supposed to go out there to conferences or bookstores or signings and tell people to buy my book? How freaking presumptuous is THAT?"
I am a horrible salesperson. I've never been good at it. I always think, "If someone wants to buy something, they'll buy it. Leave them alone!" In fact, most sales tactics make me NOT want to buy something. I'm stubborn like that.
But the fact of the matter is, Nathan is right. Self-promotion sucks, and we have to do it anyway. Because while it's true that people will buy what they want to buy, they can't buy something they'd like if they don't know about it. I think that might even be where the line is drawn between tolerable self-promotion and annoying self-promotion—information vs. flagrant "I am awesome buy my book!" I think it is possible to be visible without being bothersome, and I think people respond to that.
Now, how do you do that? Uh, I'll get back to you if I ever figure it out.
Of all the potentially scary things about becoming a published author, this is number one for me right now, and it'll probably be like that for quite a long time. It feels so...out of my comfort zone. I just hope I can find that balance between getting the information to those who want it and becoming an annoyance.